Updated on 09/15/2011 12:44PM

Jockey fined for ditching mounts


FORT ERIE, Ontario - Jockey Eldrige Lindsay was fined $200 by the Ontario Racing Commission stewards for failing to carry out his riding commitments at Fort Erie on July 30. He was named aboard two runners, Personal Prize in the sixth race and Raise the Maize in the 10th. Both finished out of the money. Raise the Maize went off as the favorite but came home fourth.

Lindsay elected to ride at another racetrack, said the stewards. On the afternoon of July 30, Lindsay rode two New York-bred horses at Finger Lakes for Fort Erie trainer David Schmidt, who had shipped to New York to take advantage of two restricted races. Lindsay was the regular jockey for one of the shippers, D'Bungee, and Helen Vanek for the other, J and B's Nu Image, who was Fort Erie's champion female sprinter in 1999.

"Helen had five commitments [at Fort Erie]," said Schmidt. "For Lindsay it was an opportunity to ride a really nice horse. So I guess he took advantage of it."

Winner in U.S.

J and B's Nu Image, won the allowance race for a $16,000 purse, and D'Bungee finished a close fourth. "He was beaten just a half-length. He was on the inside and it was a terrible place to be that afternoon," Schmidt said.

It was win number 14 for the 5-year-old J and B's Nu Image. Thirteen of her wins have been for Schmidt, who claimed her for $7,500 in July 1999 out of a nonwinners-of-two lifetime race for client Eugene Campana. "She's won 13 out of 19 for us. Nine were at Fort Erie, one at Woodbine, and now she's won three at Finger Lakes," said Schmidt. "I only go to Finger Lakes when I have an excellent chance of winning. I try to race in the proper conditions and do the best I can for the people that pay me."

Schmidt took his star on the road to take advantage of her New York-bred conditions when her starter allowance status ran out at Fort Erie. She had been beating up on horses who have started previously for claiming prices from $7,500 to $16,000. She has started four times this year in New York state and won three. She finished fifth in the other, a restricted stakes, beaten 2 1/2 lengths after dueling for the lead.

* A lack of rain throughout July has caused an interruption in turf racing at Fort Erie. The grass events were switched to the dirt on Tuesday and Wednesday. "Hopefully we'll be back on the course on the weekend of Aug. 11," said racing secretary Pudge Brown. "We did some fertilizing, seeding, and a little repairing."

* Business is booming at Fort Erie. Total wagering ontrack during live racing dates up to July 30 is up 17 percent over last year. And the $2,576,456 increase is split evenly between the Fort Erie product and the simulcasting of other tracks. "It's true growth," said head of marketing Herb McGirr. "We were pleased with last year. It was up 20 percent over the previous year."